“To formulate and implement an effective sustainable development strategy in the Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region, Mannheim’s municipal government must take a leadership role and be decisive in this capacity. We must be actively responsible in our efficient allocation and use of resources, especially considering the world’s social, economic, and ecological factors are more internationally linked than ever before.”
– Mayor Peter Kurz
Dr Peter Kurz, born in 1962, has been the Mayor of the City of Mannheim since 2007. He is a member of the German Social Democratic Party. He has numerous functions in municipal subsidiaries, honorary posts in Committees of the German Association of Cities and Towns and the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region.
From 1999 to 2007 Peter Kurz was Mayor of Education, Culture, Sports and City Marketing in Mannheim. He previously worked in a law firm and for the Chair of Civil Law, Commercial and Business Law at the University of Mannheim and judge at the administrative court in Karlsruhe.
Peter Kurz studied law and completed his legal clerkship in Mannheim, Speyer, Heidelberg and in San Diego, USA. While a student, he became a member of the District Advisory Council and worked as an assistant to a member of the state parliament. He was a member of the Mannheimer city councils and various supervisory boards, deputy district chairman of SPD, chairman of Mannheim’s SPD municipal council faction and member of the SPD state executive committee in Baden-Württemberg.
Mannheim is supporting and promoting the development of migrant children’s education. The success of the “Kein Kind darf verloren gehen” (No child left behind) initiative is a cross-disciplinary development plan that highlights the current educational success of children and adolescents with a migrant background within the framework of a formal learning environment. With this plan, Mannheim’s goal is to integrate interculturalism into education systems and to offer migrant children the same opportunities as any other child. MAUS “Mannheimer Unterstützungssystem Schule” (Mannheim Support System for Schools) enables schools to provide an additional 20 hours tutoring a week to students who are in need of additional support, offering children and adolescents the chance to improve their academic results and compensate for any educational disadvantages.
The City of Mannheim is introducing a 12-point programme for housing in Mannheim, including a social quota to ensure the provision of affordable and sufficient living space for the future. 30% of new living spaces from 10 housing units will be offered for 7.50 € per square metre. In addition, funds from the Urban Development Trust for Modernization will be offered to existing apartments to reduce the price increase. The Wohnbaugesellschaft GBG will acquire buildings in all parts of the city for social integration, private and, where possible and sensible, further compaction will be implemented. “By 2025 about 10,000 new living spaces will be built in Mannheim. We want to ensure those in need of low-income housing are provided for,” explained the Mayor Dr. Peter Kurz. “We want to prevent segregation tendencies in both socially disadvantaged and socially strong housing areas by employing a corresponding small-scale mix of apartments in different price segments.”
Through the Mannheim Professional Youth Alliance, Mannheim works closely with the Mannheim Agency for Work, the Karlsruhe Regional Council, the Mannheim State Education Authority and the Mannheim Job Centre. The main focuses are educational equality and equal opportunity. The primary objectives are to support the efficient transition of adolescents and young adults from school to the workforce, to improve their training opportunities and career prospects, and to pave the way for young people in need of special support to enter training programs or employment. In addition to the educational sponsorship and the objectives, the cooperation partners are committed to promoting the social and vocational integration of disadvantaged young people and young people at risk of discrimination. As a result, the city of Mannheim has one of the lowest youth unemployment rate in German cities.
Following the 2019 launch of the Climate Urgency Plan, Mannheim plans to be carbon neutral by 2050. Initiatives include the decarburisation of heating and the replacement of stoves in municipal housing accommodation by 2025. The 21-point Bicycle Traffic program has outlined plans to make Mannheim a bicycle-friendly city and decrease motorised traffic. Since 2019, with help from the federal government and a grant of 28 million €, Mannheim introduced new bus routes and reduced ticket fares on public transport, to test whether the use of public transport can be increased using price incentives. The price of Green City (transport) tickets is roughly two-thirds of the original price. The city hopes the initiative will create a behavioural change resulting in an increase in the use of public transport. Mannheim has also increased tree-planting.
The initiative ‘Mannheim on Climate Track’ aims to raise public awareness, and motivate citizens to take actions for sustainable urban development by making them part of their daily routine. The city rewards environmental engagement with the Environmental Award of the City of Mannheim. This prize has rewarded nature conservation projects such as increasing green spaces by greening roofs, facades and sealed areas. To promote sustainable mobility in Mannheim, the city launched the campaign “Spare your car” and initiated a car-free day in the city. Offering free passes for public transportation, rental bikes, cargo bikes and car sharing, 25 citizens committed to not use their car for three months. After finishing the campaign, five households were convinced to give up their cars completely.